Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Muddy Waters - I'm Ready

After the run-away success of Hard Again, Johnny Winter again took Muddy into the studio for another back-to-the-basics blues album. Most of the same personnel as the previous record reappear but this time they add the amazing Jimmy Rogers on guitar and two harmonica players - Big Walter Horton from the old days and Jerry Portnoy from Muddy's then-current touring band. This record garnered Muddy another Grammy and strengthened his come-back - as if it needed it!

Again, Bob Margolin provides liner notes describing the sessions and the way that things came about, which is a cool insider's story. The sound, production, playing and set list is again terrific, with some tones sounding so original, you'd think it was from the 50's (check the guitar lines from "Who Do You Trust"!). The initial title track has Muddy as blustering and confident as ever, "33 Years" and "Who Do You Trust" both have plenty of classic blues licks (including some stinging slide from the man on the former and Winter on the latter). There's lots of groovy jams in "Copper Brown" and Winter gets a workout on the swingin' "Hootchie Cootchie Man". "Mamie" is a slow original with Waters on the slide again and "Rock Me" is as sexy and sultry as ever, followed by another smoldering "Screamin' and Cryin'" and the vinyl closer, the bouncin' "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl".

The CD gives us three extra cuts, "No Escape From the Blues" (in which Pinetop finally gets to show off a bit, along with the rest of the crew), Jimmy Rogers takes lead vocals for the first couple verses of the remake of his first big hit "That's Alright" before letting Muddy have a turn and then duetting on the ending, and then everything comes to a conclusion with a rockin' "Lonely Man Blues".

Hard Again is the essential come-back record, but this one is damn strong too - worth getting!

RIP Dick Wagner


Another huge talent gone:
Dick Wagner, Legendary Guitarist, Passes Away at 71
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Dick was in Detroit legends the Frost, in Lou Reed's band and Alice Cooper's band, as well as countless others. Another terrible loss.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Jeff Dahl - Wicked

I've got quite a number of Jeff's records and all are cool, but this one is one of my faves - great songs, great
production and great playing throughout. Guest stars abound here, from Dave Nazworthy (Chemical People), John Duffy (Powertrip/Shillaly Brothers), Bruce Duff (innumerable groups), Jaime Pina (Punk Rock Vatos), Amy Wichmann (Mini Skirt Mob/Jeff Dahl Group), Rikk Agnew (Adolescents), Melanie Vammen (Pandoras/Leaving Trains), Tony Adolescent and more!

This opens with the fabulous "Lisa's World", commenting on our mutual friend, Lisa Lombardo, whose solo record Jeff produced and I played on. Cool punk rock with a catchy chorus and breakdown ending in "Look at You", pure high energy in "The Face of an Angel", one of Jeff's classic riffs is the basis for "Just Like They Should" (with a hot Jamie Pina solo), "Radio Babylon" is a highlight, with Jeff playing some fine leads, ala his glam record. Melanie adds some keys and ambiance to "Tonight" that also has a neat'n'clean guitar solo by Paul Moser, which is followed by the ultra-frantic "Forever", then the over-driven "Arizona" (apparently about his self-imposed exile from LA to Cave Creek, AZ.), with an Amy lead and Jeff doing a call'n'answer with himself. "Just a Little Bit More" is a bit glammy while "Real High School Romance" is pure pop-punk (in a good way, of course!). Dahl has never been shy about his love for Mott the Hoople and although his take on "The Moon Upstairs" is brutally and viciously fast punk rock, it still pulses with the spirit of the original. The finale is the title cut, a beautiful noise fest (with a beat) worthy of "LA Blues" - fantastic!

As I've said, damn near anything that this man does is worthy of owning, but this one is particularly powerful all around.

Muddy Waters - Hard Again

In the 70's, Johnny Winters' manager started up Blue Sky Records for Johnny, then a rock'n'roll superstar, and Johnny decide he wanted to release other music as well, and saw this as a way to help his friend and mentor, Muddy Waters. Muddy's career had faltered for years at this time, due to Chess not knowing how to properly package and promote the blues superstar. Winters' connection to this project - he produced and played guitar - made sure that many r'n'r kids heard Muddy for the first time and restarted his career.

Here Johnny and Muddy teamed up with members of Muddy's touring band - Bob Margolin (guitar), Pinetop Perkins (the legendary piano pounder), James Cotton (also legendary harpist), Charles Calmese on bass and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith on drums - and got the gang to play live in the studio - as things were done in the old days. Obviously, this worked well, as the album sounds amazing, was a huge hit, garnered plenty of critical acclaim and even won a Grammy - not bad for an "aging" bluesman!

The set list is pretty damn terrific, too, opening with Muddy's (by way of Bo Diddley) calling card "Mannish Boy" and running through "Bus Driver", "I Want to Be Loved" (the Stones covered this early on thanks to Muddy's original version), "Jealous Hearted Man" (Cotton is smokin' here), an acoustic "I Can't Be Satisfied" (updating his first Chess release with Johnny playing Muddy's original lines), his "The Blues Had a Baby and They Named It Rock and Roll" (not my fave, but solid), a slow, stompin' "Deep Down in Florida", the superb groove of the lewd "Crosseyed Cat", and the vinyl closed with the smoldering "Little Girl", though this reissue CD includes one more, the previously unreleased "Walking Through the Park'.

Margolin provides extensive liner notes in the booklet - as he does on the other "comeback" reissues - and explains how Muddy named the album - it sounded so good to him that it "made my little pee-pee hard again"! The Chess originals are absolutely essential, but this is a fine rockin' remake with some excellent playing.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

recommended gigs

Thursday July 24 - the Psyatics with Peter Murphy at LV Country Saloon
Thursday July 24 - the Plurares at the Double Down with SlutHammer

Friday July 25 - Jason Charles Miller with Brandon Madejek, Fishing Season and London Mace

Saturday July 26 - the Super Zeroes at the Hard Rock Cafe
Saturday July 26 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

Monday July 28 - the Pine Hill Haints with the All Togethers, Swank Bastards, Bombon, My First Rodeo and the Unwieldies at the Hard Hat Lounge

Tuesday July 29 - Beau Hodges Band at Brooklyn Bowl with Dusty Sunshine and Kalsey Kulyk

Wednesday July 30 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down
Wednesday July 30 - Fuzz Solow, Easter Teeth, Illicitor and Firewater Folklore at House of Wonk

Friday August 1 - Jinxy Bear at Artifice

Saturday August 2 - The Swamp Gospel at the Double Down with garage legends the Sloths

Sunday August 3 - Thee Pussyramers at Pussyrama at the Artifice

Thursday August 7 - the Boss Martians, Nu Waves and Surf Coasters at the Double Down

Friday August 8 - the Super Zeroes at the Double Down

Saturday August 9 - The Unweildies at the Dillinger
Saturday August 9 - Tarah Grace and High Horse at the Hard Hat

Thursday August 14 - the Sonics at the Hard Rock on Las Vegas

Friday August 15 - Deep Purple at Fremont Street Experience 3rd St Stage 9:00pm

Saturday August 16 - The Psyatics with the Rick Agnew Band at Triple B

Sunday August 17 - the Loud Pipes and Zig Zags at the Dive Bar

Saturday August 23 - the Phenomenauts and Time Crashers at the Dive Bar
Saturday August 23 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Pioneer Saloon

Wednesday August 27 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Friday August 29 - the Super Zeroes at the Hard Hat Lounge

Saturday August 30 - the Psyatics at the Double Down

Friday Sept 5 - Double Down Radio's 6th Anniversary Bash with Sheep On a Cliff, the Bitters, Fuzz Solow and the Pluralses

Saturday Sept 6 - the Weirdos at the Dive Bar

Tuesday September 9 - The Clydesdale, Crimson Balladeers - Brooklyn Bowl

Friday Sept 26 - the Psyatics at Time Out Sports Bar

Sunday October 5 - the Psyatics and Sham 69 at the Dive Bar

Saturday October 11 - Gentlemen of Four Outs perform for a benefit for the Huntridge (70th Anniversary!) at the Mesquite Club (702 St Louis) - details to follow

Tuesday October 14 - the Unwieldies with Wayne Hancock at the Dive Bar

Sunday November 16 - the Psyatics with Har Mar Superstar and Pizza Underground at LV Country Saloon

Saturday Jan 10, 2015 - the Psyatics with the Dictators at LV Country Saloon

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Negro Religious Songs and Services - The Library of Congress Archive of Folk Culture

This 15 song CD consists of religious songs that John & Alan Lomax recorded throughout the Southern states of the US between 1934 and 1942. They are performed with minimal accompaniment - if any - and the booklet gives as much details as possible after this many years. Many of the tunes are quite short - some under and some just barely a minute - but all are sung with considerable emotion and power. Of course, at this time, gospel, blues, and folk overlapped but most of the songs here have a blues-y feel.

Highlights include the haunting "Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down", sung acapella by Bozie Sturdivant, "Down on Me" (later updated by Janis Joplin and Big Brother on Cheap Thrills), sung by Dock Reed (also acapella), as well as his duet with Vera Hall on "Certainly, Lord", and the fantastic spoken/shouted/sung sermon "The Man of Calvary" by Sin-Killer Griffin! He and his congregation also do a call-and-answer choral singing in "Wasn't That a Mighty Storm", then there is a five-part harmony piece by various inmates from Cummins State Farm on "Holy Babe" and several numbers sung with harmonica by Turner Junior Johnson.

I love this raw and earthy music, whether religious or secular, and this is another fine collection.

The Rolling Stones - Singles Collections * The London Years

The title pretty well says it all for this one - this 3-CD box set contains all of the Stones' singles - A'n'B-Sides - from their debut (covering Chuck Berry's "Come On") through "Sympathy For the Devil", which was apparently released as a single well after the album since this is the last track on this (supposedly) chronological collection and the "Brown Sugar"/"Wild Horses" 45 is several cut prior. Most fans will have most, if not all, of these cuts, but it's a good compilation, with a few surprises.

While they were still struggling, their more famous pals, the Beatles, wrote a number for them and "I Wanna Be Your Man" is blistering compared to the Fab Four's take on it, with Wyman's drivin' bass and Jones' fantastic, stingin' slide work. Another early r'n'b work-out, "Stoned", is mostly instrumental but has Mick claiming that he is "stoned...out of my mind" backed by Ian Stewart's rollickin' piano and some excellent lead work. Not surprising that this one didn't hit the charts! Of course, all the big hits are here - plenty of early r'n'b ravers, some acoustic sides, some pure blues and, as time went on, some psych numbers from Their Satanic Majesties Request. I dig that stuff a lot, but it is a kind of a knock-out when the next release after these psych songs was the damn-near-perfect rock'n'roll of "Jumpin' Jack Flash". Talk about a return to form!

The final CD has cuts from their three best records - Let it Bleed, Beggars Banquet and Sticky Fingers - as well as Mick's "Memo From Turner", cut with Ry Cooder for the Performance soundtrack, and a couple more obscure ones, "I Don't Know Why" and the swingin' "Jiving Sister Fanny".

Don't know if I'd call this essential, seeing as all of the albums through Exile on Main Street are all essential, but this is a cool comp and it's nice to have all of these in one place. Good stuff!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live

After the success of Muddy Waters' Johnny Winters-produced comeback album Hard Again, Winters went
on the road with the man and this document is the result of their travels. The original vinyl album was edited a bit, but here on this 2-CD set we (supposedly, at least) get the full versions of the songs along with a number of extras.

Because of Johnny's participation, a number of rock'n'rollers probably heard this giant for the first time doing his own material that had been covered by innumerable younger, white bands. Of course, the monumental "Mannish Boy" is included (with Winter singing a verse), followed by the salacious "Nineteen Years Old", where Waters' plays slide and elongates the ending with some of his classic grunts, groans and laughter. Sonny Boy Williamson's "Nine Below Zero" is solid, with some cool Pinetop Perkins keys, and Muddy is back on slide on "Streamline Woman", which is nice, as he sounds like he's having a blast and he (mostly) put aside his guitar for a number of years before this "comeback" (not that he ever went away).

Funnily enough, he has a harmonica-driven tune called "Howling Wolf" (considering his rivalry with that man) and then his groovy take on the terrific "Baby, Please Don't Go" before Disc One closes with the extended "Deep Down in Florida", where each member of his terrific band gets a chance to show off.

Disc 2 opens loosely with Pinetop plucking out a blues and introducing Muddy and then Muddy introducing the band as they slip into a medley of "After Hours/Stormy Monday Blues" (with more than a nod to T-Bone Walker in the guitar solo). A strong "Trouble No More" follows and then a crowd favorite, "Champagne and Reefer". Pinetop leads off "Corrina, Corrina", not one of my faves, but cool, though "Hootchie Kootchie Man" is always a stormer. Waters takes to the slide again for the sexy and swagggering "She Moves Me", but their "Kansas City", while nice, with some good solos, is fairly inconsequential, even with Pinetop sharing the lead vocals. Showing that Muddy wasn't afraid to share the spotlight (he probably appreciated the break), he lets his piano player do "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie", as well - a vehicle used by many others throughout the years and which lets everyone take a lead, including the legendary drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith.

"Mad Love" is more of Muddy's sensuous blues - he was quite the ladies' man - and "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" is a cool rocker and another method for introducing his group and then turning over the lead vocals to Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson before ending the proceedings with a rapid-fire "Got My Mojo Working", sounding not unlike the legendary Newport Jazz Festival version.

There is a superb, full color booklet included, with copious liner notes by Muddy's long time guitarist Bob Margolin - so, full band is Jerry Portnoy on harp, Luther Johnson, Bob Margolin and, on disc one, Johnny Winter on guitars, Calvin Jones on bass, Pinetop on piano and Willie Smith on drums - quite a line-up! His early work is still my fave, but this was a great return to form and would've been a gas to witness.

Friday, July 18, 2014

recommended gigs

Friday July 18 - the Psyatics at the Double Down
Friday July 18 - the Loud Pipes at the Triple B with Planes Mistaken for Stars, All Eyes West, Illicitor, Mercy Music and Fredward

Saturday July 19 - the Swamp Gospel at the Double Down

Wednesday July 23 - Crazy Chief at the Griffin

Friday July 25 - Jason Charles Miller with Brandon Madejek, Fishing Season and London Mace

Saturday July 26 - the Super Zeroes at the Hard Rock Cafe
Saturday July 26 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

Monday July 28 - the Pine Hill Haints with the All Togethers, Swank Bastards, Bombon, My First Rodeo and the Unwieldies at the Hard Hat Lounge

Tuesday July 29 - Beau Hodges Band at Brooklyn Bowl with Dusty Sunshine and Kalsey Kulyk

Wednesday July 30 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Saturday August 2 - The Swamp Gospel at the Double Down with garage legends the Sloths

Thursday August 7 - the Boss Martians, Nu Waves and Surf Coasters at the Double Down

Friday August 8 - the Super Zeroes at the Double Down

Saturday August 9 - The Unweildies at the Dillinger

Thursday August 14 - the Sonics at the Hard Rock on Las Vegas

Friday August 15 - Deep Purple at Fremont Street Experience 3rd St Stage 9:00pm

Sunday August 17 - the Loud Pipes and Zig Zags at the Dive Bar

Saturday August 23 - the Phenomenauts and Time Crashers at the Dive Bar

Friday August 29 - the Super Zeroes at the Hard Hat Lounge

Friday Sept 5 - Double Down Radio's 6th Anniversary Bash with Sheep On a Cliff, the Bitters, Fuzz Solow and the Pluralses

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

son of a bitch...


Johnny Winter, Virtuosic Blues Guitarist, Dies at 70
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He didn't seem well at all when I saw him a couple years ago, but goddam, another one gone...
He was a true great - very sad to see him go...

Friday, July 11, 2014

goddammit - RIP Tommy

Report: R.I.P. Tommy Ramone (1952-2014), the last living original member of the Ramones 
---
They literally changed the world and all died far too young.
I was lucky enough to see them several times with Tommy - still my favorite line-up.
A truly sad day...


BTW - FUCK CANCER!!!!

The Crumbs - "The Crumbs"

The Crumbs were (or maybe still are - I see online there was a 2010 release) a 90's punk rock band from Florida who released a few sporadic records, including this slab for Lookout! Their 70's styled punk rock is highly reminiscent of bands like the Saints (the singer especially reminds me of Chris Bailey), with hints of the Ramones and the Dead Boys (there's a shout-out to Cheetah at one point, unless my ears deceive me, and since I just realized the song is called "dead boys too", I would wager I am correct).

Straight-ahead punk rock with strong playing, cool, short'n'to-the-point tunes, and plenty of snotty attitude. These cats were tons'o'fun and a well-done change of pace from a lot of the stagnant scene at the time.

Nothing original, but who really wants that?! Good disc!


Jeff Dahl - I was a Teenage Glam Fag (Volume 1)

Jeff Dahl has had a long and illustrious career in punk rock - from working with the Angry Samoans and Vox
Pop in the late 70's/early 80's to his own Jeff Dahl Band (where he played with luminaries such as Cheetah Chrome and Bruce Duff) to his solo outings - and he has consistently released high quality punk rock'n'roll. While living in Cake Creek, AZ., he built his own studio and was able to record as he pleased with Jenni Sex on bass and Anna Conda on drums (both who turned out to be Jeff himself). This is one of the projects he did, where he cut his own versions of 70's glam rock songs that he grew up with and loved. Apparently, there is a Volume 2, but I do not have it and seeing as this volume was a limited edition of 500, I'm probably out of luck (unless Jeff still has some - Jeff?!).

As he explains in his liner notes, none of these were meant to be note-for-note copies, these are his interpretations, done from memory and given the Dahl-treatment - stripped down punk rock with his own harmonies, some cool licks and some damn interesting changes added here'n'there. Some are very well known - "Caught in a Dream" (Alice Cooper - the band), "I Need Somebody" (Stooges), "Personality Crisis" (Dolls), "Ziggy Stardust" (Bowie), "One of the Boys" (Mott) - and some a bit more obscure - "Chez Maxine" (Hollywood Brats), "Living in the 70"s" (Skyhooks), "Glycerine Queen" (Suzi Quatro), "Candy's Going Bad" (Golden Earring), "Aggravation Non-Stop" (David Werner) and "Long Legged Lisa" (Silverhead). All are great though and while I knew most of these (I'm not that far off from Jeff's age so we have many of the same influences), there were a few that were fun discoveries.

While the packaging is pretty sparse, Dahl's liner notes are cool and informative and shows where he's coming from and proves his love for rock'n'roll (as if he needed to do that!). All of his work is worthwhile but definitely pick this one up if you can find it anywhere!